How to Launch Your Project in the Studio
Below are the steps a filmmaker should take in order to submit your project and successfully crowdfund in the STUDIO.
And remember, we are a selective crowdfunding platform, so before approving a project we need to see the necessary components of a successful campaign: a strong team (WHO), the seed of a great film (WHAT), and a compelling purpose behind the work (WHY).
Plus, you're gonna need a whole lot of passion and dedicaction, because crowdfunding is nothing if not a lot of hard work.
A. SUBMIT IN THE STUDIO
Step 1. Turn your social media on.
Then tweet at us! The audience-building process begins now. Don’t wait until after your campaign goes live. Not sure how to get the most out of social media? Questions you’re too embarrassed to ask? Or downright terrified of this step? Introducing the Seed&Spark Social Media Handbook. It's the holy grail you've been waiting for.
Step 2. Prep your written materials.
Press the big blue LAUNCH button in the Seed&Spark Studio to get started. Be ready for the following:
- Logline (max 100 characters)
- Short synopsis (max 300 characters)
- Long synopsis
- About your team
- Artistic statement
- Budget information
- Production status
- Distribution plan
We are a curated platform, so don't skimp. Tell us ALL the reasons this is the project and you're the team to do it. You won't get credit for what's not in there! Take a look at the Guidelines to see how evaluate each project.
Step 3. Create a pitch video.
The most successful pitch videos feature the people who are making the project. Tell a good story or two. Work from a script, even a rough one. Use a camera, a microphone and some nice light. Use imagery from everywhere. Not too much talking heads (unless you're super engaging). Answer this question as personally as you can: Why am I making this film? Why should we get involved with you? Be creative. Or humorous. Or just plain you. Naturally! Or ask yourself: how will the finished movie feel? Then match the tone and do some voiceover. These are just some ideas. Have fun!
Step 4. Submit your project to the STUDIO.
We'll get back to you in 1-2 days either to accept your project or provide feedback and questions if we don't think you're quite ready yet. Curious about our guidelines? They're written up here. We're an audience-building tool, so the more you can effectively communicate what you're offering to your community, the more we'll be able to help you.
More info and questions answered in our FAQ.
Step 5. List your campaign incentives.
Create incentives that offer private sneak-peaks or access, special credit in the movie, and invitations to special events or a visit to have lunch on set. Since we award Sparks your supporters can use to watch movies free, don't worry about offering a free download of your film. (People do love special DVDs, but that should be for $50 and above!)
Beyond a postcard from set, we recommend you avoid promising material-objects as much as possible, because they will cost you money and time to produce and ship. And lets stop proliferating stuff. Let's focus on making movies!
Step 6. Create your WishList.
The WishList is a crowdfunding tool that functions like a wedding registry. Adapt your budget into a list of everything you need to make your movie, as well as how much each item will cost you. Then, supporters BUY or LOAN the items you need to make your movie. Make your WishList aspirational and include everything you need to make your movie. Have fun and create a great shopping experience for your supporters. The WishList will give your supporters their own unique and sharable story about how they helped make your movie.
You must raise 80% of your WishList total (including loans) in either a 30 or 60 day campaign to receive the Green Light in the Seed&Spark Studio. Keep in mind, you can always choose to fundraise in stages (Development, Pre-Production, Production, Post-Production and/or Distribution). After you get the Green Light, it’s always possible to launch a new WishList from the same project page.
As you build your WishList, remember to account for the fees that will come out of your total. Every site charges a fee. Ours is 5%. More questions about the rules? Look here.
TEN TIPS FOR WISHLIST SUCCESS
- Don't be shy. Ask for what you need to COMPLETE your movie. People won’t know what you need unless you ask for it.
- Break your budget down into bite-sized pieces. If you need to rent a camera for $8000.00, break it down per day so many people can take a piece of it. Keep in mind that most contributions are made for between $25-$100. And make sure to have enough $10-25 items so anyone can participate.
- Don't leave anything out! Small stuff and big stuff, everything is important. From bug spray and paper plates, to legal fees, insurance and travel.
- Props are a best-seller on the WishList. Audiences love to contribute to the set dressing, so don't forget the potted plants and curtain rods.
- If you are making a documentary, you probably have a lot of travel. Break up your travel expenses into smaller parts. Someone could contribute 200 or even 2000 miles of your travel.
- If you are making a series, be sure to specify what items are to be used on ALL episodes versus items that are used only in specific episodes. It will be fun for audiences to choose items based on overall series or individual episodes.
- There are many aspects to post-production, so don't forget all the moving parts.
- Think far into the future: Once your film is finished, there are still expenses: festival submission DVD's, HDCAM tapes, printing costs for posters and postcards, travel to festivals. List all of these things too!
- Don't be afraid to get advice. If you need quotes for items or there are things you don't know, just ask someone. Or ask us!
- It's a WISH List. Be aspirational! You will get your money once you get to 80%, so see what else you can get: graphic design for the posters, the car your main character drives, even your airfare for when get into your dream film festival.
Step 7. Schedule your Launch date with us.
We'll be helping you to build your WishList and prepare your campaign, and when you're ready, we'll schedule the date to go live with either your 30 or 60 day campaign.
There isn't a GO LIVE button you can hit. We have to start the clock ticking for you.
Step 8. Warm up your engines.
We highly recommend soft-launching your campaign. This means sending out a mass-email announcing your launch date and warming up your supporters and followers on Facebook and Twitter a week or two before your campaign actually starts. Don't wait to let everyone know you're fundraising on the day you start your campaign. Give those early supporters a chance to be ready on day one.
Any promotions, video content or incentives you plan to deliver during your campaign, get them ready now! Plan out 2-3 unique Latest News updates per week, and set your goals in terms of numbers. How much money do you need to raise each week to stay on target? You can also track your progress in terms of the number of new supporters and followers. Typically, a successful $10,000 campaign ends up with around 100 unique supporters and an additional 50-100 followers who didn't offer financial support, but just want to follow along or maybe wait until next time.